Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Porter Hoagland

»Allocation of ocean space
»Aquaculture access system
»Aquatic nuisance species
»Archaeological Significance
»Deepsea fisheries
»Fisheries bycatch
»Harmful algal blooms (2)
»Harmful algal blooms (1)
»Land-based marine pollution
»Large marine ecosystems
»Linking economic and ecological models
»Marine protected areas
»Ocean Waste Disposal
»Ocean Wind Power
»Regional Governance
»Seabed Mining
»Seamount conservation
»UCR Management in Asia
»Whaling and ecotourism

H.L. Kite-Powell, P. Hoagland, D. Jin, Policy, law, and public opposition: the prospects for abyssal ocean waste disposal in the United States, Journal of Marine Systems 14:377-396. , 1998

The ocean is one of several media available for the disposal of society's wastes. Recently, its use for this purpose has been curtailed sharply. In this paper, we describe the potential role of the ocean in an economically optimal multimedia waste disposal framework, review international agreements and U.S. laws regulating ocean disposal, and discuss the role of public perceptions and environmental agendas in present policies governing ocean disposal. Our focus is on the disposal in the abyssal ocean of wastes such as sewage sludge. We conclude that while the U.S. ban on ocean waste disposal may be reasonable in view of uncertainties about environmental costs, the effective ban on limited disposal for research purposes is more difficult to justify. A restoration of public trust in government institutions and in the waste management industry is a likely prerequisite for the relaxation of public opposition to any change in the present prohibitions.

© Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
All rights reserved